Home Staging-Too Many “Cooks”...

Home Stager

Home Staging-Too Many “Cooks”...


A post by Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400 “Leave Mama Home” reminded me of a situation I had during a home staging consultation.


The seller was going through a divorce and had to sell the home she had loved for many years. For moral support, she’d asked her good friend to the consultation. 


Home staging was relatively new. And, there were several shows on cable tv that focused on staging. 



While I’m sure that her friend was trying to be supportive, she interrupted me every step of the way, trying to show me that she’d watched the shows on HGTV and knew all about staging.


While trying to be professional, I still needed to continue with my suggestions for staging her home. So, I did my best to let her friend express her opinions, and then be as diplomatic as I could with my suggestions.  After all, this was why I was there and what I was being paid for. 


To be kind, the friend wouldn’t shut up!  


I looked and the seller was in tears. She was already stressed out from the divorce and having to sell her home. And I’m sure she felt as if she was being pulled in two directions. 

I asked her friend if I could have some time with the seller. After I calmed her down, I asked her what she would like…

…I offered to return the next day to continue the consultation and her friend could be present to take notes only. 


She pulled herself together and asked if I would return the next day and that she was going to ask her friend not to come. 


Her friend meant well and I’m sure wanted to help her friend sell her home but there are times when too many “cooks”/stagers can…well you know the saying!!!



Sellers…if you have a consultation, you want to be able to focus on a stager’s suggestions. If you invite a friend or relative to the consultation, give them a pen and notebook and ask them to take notes!  That’s the best way they can help!!!


Posted by

Kathy Streib
Retired Home Stager
and Interior Redesign

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Comments (24)

Leanne Smith
Dirt Road Real Estate - Golden Valley, AZ
Relocation to NW AZ with elbow room & more freedom

Very much like the buyer who brings a family member or friend to the inspection.

Dec 20, 2022 05:17 AM
Kathy Streib

Leanne Smith it can often backfire. People are generally trying to help but it's so much better if they take a backseat. 

Dec 20, 2022 06:17 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

And that's where sensitivity comes into play. You recognized the stress added to by the friend, and you handled it by making another appointment without offending either one. You are a true professional. Thanks for the mention.

Dec 20, 2022 05:28 AM
Kathy Streib

HI Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400 Thank you for your very kind words!!!  I honestly felt so sorry for the seller...I now it was difficult for her. 

Dec 20, 2022 06:20 PM
Jeffrey DiMuria 321.223.6253 Waves Realty
Waves Realty - Melbourne, FL
Florida Space Coast Homes

I like to call this type of person a 3rd base coach. They want everyone to know they know as much (or more) than the manager.

Dec 20, 2022 05:59 AM
Kathy Streib

Jeffrey DiMuria 321.223.6253 Waves Realty I once had a paint contractor there at my consultation who kept chiming in.

Dec 20, 2022 06:22 PM
Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400
The Top Team @ Charles Rutenberg Realty 255 Executive Dr, Plainview NY 11803 - Plainview, NY
Long Island Condo and Home Specialists

Great suggestion Kathy. This can also be said for those know-it-all Moms who try to kill the deals!

Dec 20, 2022 06:06 AM
Kathy Streib

Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400 Oh yes, be careful when you invite your "hovercraft" mother to the consultation. 

Dec 20, 2022 06:23 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Kathy,

An awkward and stressful situation that you handled very professionally. You allowed the friend to save face and still get the job done at a better time without her. If a client insists in having a family ember or friend come to the consultation your suggestion of them taking noes is excellent!

Dec 20, 2022 06:07 AM
Kathy Streib

Thank you Dorie Dillard Austin TX I actually love it when there is someone there to take notes so that the seller can concentrate on the consultation. 

Dec 20, 2022 06:25 PM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

I'm sure your client needed moral support, but her "friend" was only making the situation more stressful. You handled it perfectly.

Dec 20, 2022 06:25 AM
Kathy Streib

Thank you Carol Williams I felt so sorry for the seller. So many changes going on in her life. 

Dec 20, 2022 06:27 PM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much, Kathy, for sharing this story and your advice.

Have a great day and an outstanding week.

Happy Holidays!

Dec 20, 2022 06:28 AM
Kathy Streib

Roy Kelley Thank you and please tell Chef Dolores hello for me. 

Dec 20, 2022 06:28 PM
Ray Henson
eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) - Elk Grove, CA

If I am paying someone for their opinion, I am listening 100% to that person, especially if it is you that I am listening too.

Dec 20, 2022 06:49 AM
Kathy Streib

That's sweet Ray Henson It's also hard when sellers have their young children around who require their attention. 

Dec 20, 2022 06:33 PM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

Leanne Smith that is exactly what I thought of as soon as I read this - we've all had buyer's families who offer a little too much of their opinion during an inspection. Whether it's inspection, staging, etc., it's just nice when people trust the advice of the actual professional.

Dec 20, 2022 07:22 AM
Leanne Smith

And sometimes the home inspector hired by the buyer's may not be as professional as others the listing agent has worked with. Or it just may be a bad day for that home inspector.

Dec 20, 2022 07:28 AM
Kathy Streib

Lise Howe Larry was a home builder. I remember when we were all buying our first homes. A friend bought his before Larry had a chance to look at it. After he moved in he asked Larry to come over and help with notes of what was wrong. Larry saw many things but only mentioned the ones he knew the builder would fix. 

Some of the items were wrong but didn't affect the structure of the home. 

Dec 20, 2022 06:44 PM
Kathy Streib

Leanne Smith And sometimes it's best that the "friend" keep their suggestions for later when they are alone. 

Dec 20, 2022 06:45 PM
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
Retired New Hampshire Home Stager

Oh...been there and done that! A couple of times.

One time it was particularly awkward because the client was my sister's best friend and the person who kept interrupting was my sister. 

Dec 20, 2022 07:27 AM
Kathy Streib

Come on Sharon Tara Ther's a good post in there!!! WRite it for us. 

Dec 20, 2022 06:46 PM
Sharon Tara

Kathy Streib  I believe I did write a post about consulting with the friend of my sister. I doubt I mentioned my sister's contribution though. I will have to go back and check.

Dec 21, 2022 05:53 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Kathy, that would have been quite awkward, and glad you came back again without the friend.

Dec 20, 2022 08:17 AM
Kathy Streib

Joan Cox especially when the seller started crying. You feel helpless. 

Dec 20, 2022 06:48 PM
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Hello Kathy, to many cooks in the kitchen can be a problem and when people think they know more than us, that can be a big problem.


Dec 20, 2022 08:24 AM
Kathy Streib

Will Hamm I'll bet you know about too many cooks in the kitchen when you're trying to prepare a meal. 

Dec 20, 2022 06:49 PM
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Kathy I run into similar situations in my end of the business when a friend or relative who has purchase a home before and is now on expert on mortgages.  Normally they don't even have what transpired in their own transaction correct.

Dec 20, 2022 12:22 PM
Kathy Streib

George Souto OH yes...everyone knows everything about mortgages!!!  I know my limitations. 

Dec 20, 2022 06:50 PM
Anna Banana Kruchten Phoenix Broker
HomeSmart Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ

Too many cooks in the kitchen - or stagers!  Sometimes people mean well but how it turns out is another issues as many of us have experienced.  Glad that lady had just you come the next day!!

Dec 20, 2022 02:11 PM
Kathy Streib

Anna Banana Kruchten Phoenix Broker I believe that people mean well but can't help themselves. 

Dec 20, 2022 06:53 PM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Kathy,

Fortunately, your client had you to help defuse the situation.  Not all people are that lucky.  

You reminded me of a family of four that all make decisions together.  I figured this would be a nightmare, but to my surprise, they worked well together, and yes, it was a group decision.  This is a vacation home, and I saw them all right before Thanksgiving. 

Dec 20, 2022 02:39 PM
Kathy Streib

Sheri Sperry - MCNE® I've worked with people like that!!! One of my first stagings...I worked with the adult children of a couple who moved north to be with family.All 3 were remarkable and worked so well together. 

Dec 20, 2022 06:55 PM
Cathy Criado
Criado Realty - San Antonio, TX
Making Real Estate Profitable

The dreaded thing young buyers say.... I need to bring my mom to look at it. Ugh!  I understand they don't trust their own judgment but if you're old enough to buy a home you are old enough to leave your family out of it. Friends too.  Sigh.  You handled it beautifully!

Dec 20, 2022 08:27 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

I agree with you and Margaret Rome about leaving Mama home, and having too many cooks, Kathy.  Buyers and Sellers need to leave it to the professionals!

Dec 20, 2022 09:41 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

CONGRATULATIONS Kathy, on having this blog FEATURED in the Old Farts Club group!  

Dec 20, 2022 09:41 PM
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

I have witnessed this phenomenon way too many times and I love your answer Kathy….

Dec 20, 2022 10:31 PM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good morning Kathy - you handled that very well and your client made the decision.

Dec 21, 2022 04:56 AM